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Examples of Major Incident Criteria

The Professor was recently asked for real life examples or best practices for the criteria that organizations have used to define major incidents. ITIL defines a major incident as an incident that results in significant disruption to the business and so real world examples are going to vary from one business to the next. For a financial services company, for example, a major incident could be an incident affecting live money transactions. For a retail company, a major incident could be an incident affecting its point of sale service. For a manufacturing company, a major incident could be an incident that affects the production line. Simply put… real dollars are being lost. A major incident could also be a service outage that affects are large number of users. Those users could be your company’s external customers, or it could be your internal employees. So for many organizations, outages affecting the company’s web site, or its email or customer relationship management (CRM) service

Dealing with Major Incidents

A close friend of mine has a saying that I always remember “All roads lead through incident management”. We know that the primary goal of the incident management process is to restore normal service operations as quickly as possible and to minimize any adverse impact on business operations. This will insure the highest levels of service quality and availability are delivered to the user community, guaranteeing that the business is receiving value and facilitating the outcomes it wants to achieve. The value this process produces for the business is in the ability to: detect and resolve incidents quickly, resulting in higher availability of IT services. align IT activities to real time business priorities and dynamically allocate resources as necessary. identify potential improvements to services, through the analysis of incident trends. So it sounds like we have everything covered as long as we handle all incidents in the same consistent and proceduralized manner. Well not so fast

Demystifying Cobit and ITIL

Our senior IT executives are being held accountable to better manage the quality and reliability of IT in business and respond to a growing number of regulatory and contractual requirements. Every enterprise needs to tailor the use of standards and practices to suit its individual requirements. Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) and the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) can both play a useful role in IT governance. Very simply COBIT helps our senior management teams to define what should be done and ITIL provides the framework for how to manage our services. When we think about COBIT and IT governance at the most fundamental level, there are four questions that every leader asks him or herself when it comes to IT initiatives: Is my IT organization doing the right things? Are we doing them the right way? Are we getting them done well? Are we getting value from our IT department? COBIT helps answer these questions by defining IT activities in a gen

Roles vs. Jobs

During one of my recent classes a discussion came up about the difference between roles and jobs. ITIL v3 speaks to the importance of roles in performing the steps or activities of a process or procedure. A role is a set of responsibilities, Activities and authorities granted to a person or team. A Role is defined in a Process. One person or team may have multiple Roles, for example the Roles of Configuration Manager and Change Manager may be carried out by a single person.               -- Service Strategy Glossary This appears to be a fairly clear definition of “role”. So why do some people have difficulty identifying the proper roles to play during the execution of a process? As the recent discussion showed, it may be because of our long focus on jobs as opposed to roles. Most learners recognize a difference between the two. When asked how many “job titles” they have, the answer is inevitably that they have one job title. When asked how many roles they perform, they inevitably r

People are Important to Service Design

One of my favorite sets of analogies to use in class is food, the making of  food or restaurant operations. We make what we eat by pulling together ingredients into recipes. In the same way, we design services. We use the elements of services combined into the five aspects of design (solutions, tools, architectures, process and measurement) to produce the Service Design Package (SDP). When we think about designing services, we must remember it takes a number of elements. ITIL v3 says there are four elements of service design: People Process Products Partners I like to think of these elements as the “ingredients” of a service. The most important “ingredient” in any service is the “people”. We can have effective processes, efficient products, and loyal partners, but without people the service will get nowhere.   People are the elements that make the value for the customer truly possible. Processes do not execute themselves, products do not spontaneously build and partners are not

ITIL Technology Lifecycle Management

The Professor has been asked, “Does ITIL address Technology Lifecycle management?” In version 2 of ITIL, the ICT Infrastructure Management book focused on technology management.  This is still a good resource, although availability of the publication may now be very limited.   In Version 3, the same information is spread across the lifecycle - most heavily in Service Design, Service Transition and Service Operation.  There are a couple of updates in ITIL Version 3 for technology management.   Configuration Management is now "Service Asset and Configuration Management" so that Asset Management and Configuration Management are integrated.   Service Design now defines a Technical Service Catalog to acknowledge underpinning technical services that are critical elements of business services.  ITIL also includes a Technical Management function as the custodian of technical expertise. While the Technical Management function performs most of it's work in Service Operation, it

Application Management Lifecycle

In a previous Blog I spoke to Application Management from the point of view that they do not actually develop the application but manage it throughout its entire lifecycle. This is done through the Application Management Lifecycle along with Operational Models. Operational Models are the specifications of the operational environment in which the application will run after it has been deployed. This model is used to simulate and evaluate the live environment during the Design and Transition stages. It also ensures that proper environmental requirements and sizing can be documented and understood by all groups or teams involved with application development and management. Many of you are familiar with “Software Lifecycle (SLC) and “Software Development Lifecycle” (SDLC). These are use by application development and project teams to manage the designing, building, testing, deployment and support of applications. From an ITIL perspective the Application Management Lifecycle looks at the

Application Management

When I teach ITIL V3 Foundation classes I often have to make the distinction between Application Management which is one of the “Service Operation Functions” and Application Development. I often begin my discussion by explaining that Application Development is responsible for the actual development and building of applications by the developers. Application Management is responsible for managing applications throughout their lifecycle and is performed by any department, group or team that is involved in managing and supporting operational applications. Additionally the function also plays a role in the design, testing and improvement of applications that form part of IT services. Application Management plays a key role in all applications whether purchased from a third party manufacturer or developed by in-house staff. During the design stage of the ITIL Lifecycle one of the key decisions made by Application Development is whether to buy or build. After that decision is made Applic

Service Acceptance Criteria

I have often been asked what value does the Service Acceptance Criteria (SAC) provide? First let’s understand what the SAC is by definition. Service Acceptance Criteria: A set of criteria used to ensure that an IT Service meets its functionality and quality requirements and that the IT Service Provider is ready to operate the new IT Service when it has been deployed. This set of criteria is in the form of a formal agreement that an IT Service, Process, Plan or other deliverable is complete, accurate, reliable and meets the specified requirements. We must understand that all design activities are triggered by changes in business needs or service improvements. In order to design and deliver IT services that meet the changing needs of the customers and the business, we must ensure that the contents of the Service Acceptance Criteria are incorporated and the required achievements are planned into the initial design. The Service Acceptance Criteria is the document that will e

Applying the CSI Model to Teenagers

I had a recent chat with a coworker of mine that used the CSI Model at home in a funny yet very practical way. I have her permission to use this and I hope you find this as interesting as I have. In her own words…. “In addition, to my career responsibilities I have the honor and for the most part the pleasure of being a Mom to two teenage girls. As we all have experienced in life, our work demands sometimes spill over into our home life. On occasion, I have been accused by my girls that I am NOT their boss, and to leave my work demeanor at the front door. Being so entrenched in striving for continual improvement, I figured, this model works at the office, why not see if I can improve things at home? I know – this has trouble written all over it! The CSI Approach – Using the CSI Model Step 1 - What is the vision? (Define your vision, your goals, your objectives) My vision is that my 17 year old high school junior has straight A’s on her report card for the third marking period –

Effective Brainstorming Session

There are several problem analysis techniques which are discussed in the V3 Service Operation book, including brainstorming. I have used brainstorming sessions often in my career. Brainstorming is used throughout the problem solving process whenever the team needs to generate ideas quickly and effectively. Some sessions have been very valuable, others not so much. What was the difference? Basically, we need some structure around the sessions and some rules of engagement. Let’s begin by defining brainstorming. This is a technique used to quickly generate a list of ideas by a team to solve problems or issues. The relevant people must be gathered together either physically and/or electronically to increase creativity and idea generation in a very short amount of time. Here are 3 different types of brainstorming methods:  Free Wheeling Brainstorming Participants call out their ideas when they occur to them and in no particular order. A recorder posts all ideas for everyone to see as

The ITIL Application Management Lifecycle and SDLC

I often get questions on the differences and similarities between the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) and the ITIL Application Management Lifecycle. Is the ITIL framework just another rebranding of SDLC? SDLC defines the organization’s standards for the creation and maintenance of applications. The SDLC can be divided into ten phases during which defined IT work products are created or modified. The phases range from initiation, design, development, implementation, operations & maintenance to disposition. The tenth phase, disposition, occurs when the system is disposed of and the task performed is either eliminated or transferred to other systems. The ITIL Application Management Lifecycle presents a more holistic, service oriented view. It allows for greater alignment between the development view of the applications and the live management of those applications. This ITIL lifecycle focuses on the overall management of applications as part of IT services. Understanding the c

Change Categorization

Rusty asked: I was looking for terms used for categorizing the impact of a change, I remember in Version 2 of ITIL that changes where categorized as Major, Significant, Minor and Standard is that no longer done? Or is the Imapct also defines as the priority High, Medium, and Low Rusty, I’m going to give you my answer in three parts. This information can also be found in Section 4.2 of your Service Transition Book.   In ITIL V3 changes are now categorized into three distinct types:   • Standard Change: Change to a service or infrastructure for which the approach has been pre-authorized by Change management that has an accepted and established procedure to provide a specific change requirement. It has a defined trigger, documented tasks and budgetary approval. The risk is low and well understood. • Normal Change: Change to a service or infrastructure for which the risk must be assessed and must go through the Change Advisory Board (CAB). These are Changes that happen either on

Organizational Change Management

One of the most important yet often less fully considered aspects of using Service Management is Organizational Change Management. When it comes down to it, Service Management is about people—as customers, users, providers, maintainers, supporters and a myriad of other roles. So while we get caught up in getting effective, efficient and economical services, processes and technologies in place to provide value, we must not push aside the importance of attitude, behavior and culture. We have all encountered new situations, changes in process or work flow, new technologies and other unfamiliar situations. Most people recognized from experience that different people deal with change in different manners. But we do not have to rely simply on hearsay or belief or personal experience. We can turn to experts in the field of Organizational Change Management for a way to work through the adoption of new ideas, approaches and technologies. In 1962 in his work Diffusion of Innovations, Everett

Service Requests and Standard Changes

Paul recently asked; Hello, When browsing on the topic of Service Requests, I visited your site where a question was answered on the differences and similarities of Service Requests and Standard Changes. I was triggered by the following passage: "It is important to note that not all Service Requests are Standard Changes. Service Requests can include questions, queries, complaints and compliments. Similarly, not all Standard Changes are Service Requests. Standard Changes can include batch jobs, patches and other low risk changes that are not "requestable" by the user. Any Service Request or Standard Change that presents a higher risk may require reassessment and reclassification by Change Management." I am trying to think of a term that would differentiate the one from the other. Considering that there are Service Requests that may invoke a Standard Change, I can see two possibilities: it may be a Standard Change that can be requested by any end-user or it ma

Use CSI to Meet Changing Customer Needs

You can’t always go home again, but you can use Continual Service Improvement (CSI) to meet the changing needs of your customers. I recently posted a blog about returning to a service desk I had managed and spoke about how the changing business environment had impacted management’s ability to sustain the current list of Critical success factors (CSFs) and Key Performance indicators (KPIs). The 1st question that was asked was “What should we measure?” Within the new business reality we reviewed how the corporate vision, mission, goals and objectives had changed? We spoke with service owners, business process owners, business analysts and customers and asked what was critical to them. What services that we were providing was creating the most value to them and enabling them to meet these new goals and objectives? Management then identified the gaps of “what we should measure”, to “what we can measure”. From this a more customer focused list was developed. The overriding objective

Simplifying Service Management

One of the things that troubles me at times is how often people try to make the world more complex than it needs to be. The world is really a rather simple place if you take the time to step back and avoid complexity. I recently read a statement that made think upon this problem again. The opposite of “simple” is “elaborate”, not “complex”— Dan Roam, The Back of the Napkin What people call complex, may in reality be elaborate. They confuse the two ideas. This can lead to issues in the delivery of Business and IT Services to customers. If someone believes a service is too complex they can often be less willing to make the effort to provide the service, or support it or improve it. Most likely the service is just elaborate (having lots of underpinning elements and components), not really complex (being of a nature that is difficult to understand). So how do we move away from complexity and towards seeing Service Management in terms of simplicity and elaboration? Here are several tech

Using CSI to Meet Customer Needs

I recently posted a blog about returning to a service desk I had managed and spoke about how the changing business environment had impacted management’s ability to sustain the current list of Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and Key Performance indicators (KPIs). The 1st question was “What should we measure?” Within the new business reality, we reviewed how the corporate vision, mission, goals and objectives had changed. We spoke with service owners, business process owners, business analysts and customers and asked what was critical to them.  We could then determine the services that were creating the most value  and enabling them to meet these new goals and objectives. Management then identified the gaps of “what we should measure”, to “what we can measure”. From this, a more customer-centric list was developed. The overriding objective of these new service measurements was to provide a meaningful view of the IT service as experienced by our customers. The three key areas that cu

ISO 20K Certification Process

Thinking about ISO/IEC 20000 certification? Here are the steps involved. 1. Questionnaire : The service provider contacts one or several Registered Certification Bodies (RCBs). Each RCB will send a questionnaire with information needed to submit a quotation. Based on the quotations, the provider can select a RCB. 2. Application for assessment : An application form is completed and returned to the chosen RCB. A lead auditor is assigned and an initial visit scheduled. The auditor will explain the assessment process, an audit program will be agreed and the assessment date selected. 3. Optional pre-audit : This is a high-level evaluation to determine where the company stands in compliance with ISO/IEC 20000. The auditor will point out any areas of concern to give the provider an opportunity to improve before the initial audit. 4. Initial audit : In this session the scoping statement is agreed upon and the auditor plans the certification audit. Documentation and evidence of com

Achieving ITSM Balance

In speaking with colleagues and practitioners, I have found that one of the greatest difficulties for companies to overcome in a Service Management implementation is the desire to be more complex and unbalanced than is absolutely necessary. One of the most basic and underlying elements of good Service Management is the achievement of balance in how we approach the delivery of value to the customers and users through services. Balance helps us to find an equitable point that brings value to the customers and users without throwing out the efforts and actions needed to keep IT going. When I speak of balance, I am referring to finding the middle ground between extremes. These include balances like the amount of time and effort spent between Incident Management and Problem Management; or perhaps the balance between flexibility and stability; or even the challenges of being proactive versus reactive; customer/service-centric versus technology-centric. There are a multitude of these types